The Evils of Half-Fought Wars

DianaHsieh's picture
Submitted by DianaHsieh on Thu, 2006-08-17 00:48

Sadly, I couldn't agree more with this ARI press release.

    Lebanon Cease-Fire Is a Victory for Hezbollah

    Irvine, CA--"The cease-fire is a resounding victory for Hezbollah and for Islamic fascism," said Dr. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute.

    "How can President Bush declare that 'Hezbollah suffered a defeat' in Lebanon when it was neither disarmed nor disheartened by the fighting? How can President Bush declare that the resolution addresses the 'root cause' of Hezbollah's aggression when it does not even mention Iran and Syria for their support of Hezbollah and other terrorist groups?

    "A U.N. resolution calling for the disarming of Hezbollah in Lebanon is not the same thing as the actual disarming of Hezbollah in Lebanon--let alone the defeat of Hezbollah throughout the Middle East. And by urging Israel to end its military offensive, the administration has ended any possibility that Hezbollah will actually be destroyed.

    "The only way to end the threat from Islamic totalitarian groups like Hezbollah and their state sponsors is to inflict crushing devastation upon them by aggressive military action."

    Copyright (c) 2006 Ayn Rand(R) Institute. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Without a doubt, any supposed military victory in which the enemy is also capable of declaring victory to the world is no victory at all.

I have only vague ideas about how elections work in parliamentary systems, so can someone tell me when I might hope to see that spineless swine of appeasement Ehud Olmert booted out of office? And are the Israelis in a mood to vote in someone who might at least slow rather than hasten the destruction of their country?

Sadly, this aborted war in Lebanon is a perfect example of why fighting half a war is often worse than fighting none at all. If Israel hadn't invaded Lebanon, Hezbollah and other Islamic fundamentalists would have continued to wonder: When will Israel reign down fire and brimstone upon us? How awful will it be? Will we all be destroyed? Will the United States support them, join them -- or urge restraint?

In contrast, now Hezbollah and other Islamic fundamentalists know that they can survive an onslaught from Israel. They know that the surrounding Muslim governments will support them rather than fight them or cut them off. They know that Muslims will rally to their cause, not disown them. They know that Western governments, including the United States, will urge restraint, diplomacy, cease-fires, and the like. They know that Western news media will be a conduit for their propaganda. They know that Western intellectuals will be wringing their hands over the deaths of civilians -- and blaming Israel for those deaths.

How do Hezbollah and other Islamic fundamentalists know all that? They know all that because that spineless swine of appeasement Ehud Olmert chose to fight a war yet refused to win it.

At this point, I fear that the Muslim world would need to experience all the horror of overwhelming shows of force in multiple hot spots to even consider abandoning the jihad against civilization. The West has shown too much weakness for the jihadists to be easily convinced of any new-found determination to crush Islamic totalitarianism that the West might exhibit. That'll be the true legacy of decades of appeasement: the mass destruction required to destroy the threat of Islamic totalitarianism. It's a horrifying prospect.

Even worse, it's a moot point at present: I have little hope of any Western power rediscovering the moral courage required to defend itself from the barbarians at the gates -- at least not until Objectivism gains a greater foothold in the culture.


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Changing One Socialist/Sharia Tyranny for Another

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

America and Britain should have imposed a Western-style constitution and legal system on them -- written in advance -- from Day One. This is essentially what happened in Germany and Japan. Now the Japanese guard their American-written constitution jealously. Even a lowly Muslim would likely get used to Western liberal laws after a few years living under them -- and then reject all others. This was the way to go.

Instead, within a few weeks the West gave the Iraqis a Ruling Council of 25 members almost all of which were intensely illiberal: communists, fundamentalists, tribalists, etc. Then the West continued with this tyranny. No wonder the Muslims hate "freedom." Who wouldn't?

Based on multi-culturalism and "sensitivity" to their savage evil Muslim culture, America and Britain essentially imposed a socialist-and-sharia dictatorship on Iraq. That's the problem. And as Adam noted: that isn't victory, that's surrender.     

Changing culures

Brendan Hutching's picture

Adam: “The opposite of war…a radical transformation of the culture of the enemy… into a nation of productive partners in cooperation and trade.”

I understand what you’re saying here, but I think you overestimate the power to force a radical cultural change in another country, or at least quickly. Germany and Japan were both highly productive countries before WWII, but infected with authoritarianism, militarism and racism.

The authoritarianism and militarism were effectively knocked out of them by crushing defeat, and the racism wasn’t able to find expression in the new order. Soon enough, both countries revived their previous economic vitality and ways of life. Importantly, however, the change only affected certain cultural aspects of both countries. Much of the pre-war culture persisted, and we only need to consider cultural stereotypes to see this persistence.

That said, the authoritarianism, militarism and racism of these countries were certainly major factors in the road to war. In the case of Iraq, however, I can’t see how ‘theocracy’ – by which I assume you mean the pursuit of religious ends by political means – was the cause of the current conflict, which had more to do with authoritarianism and militarism.

In the case of Iran, though, you may well be right but I can’t see how one could easily separate church and state without a prolonged period of agy-bargy and conflict, as had to happen in the West.

Brendan

Adam

eg's picture

Were you ever a soldier or Marine? If you were you'd know you can't get that soldier DNA out of your system. I am perfectly capable of picking up a rifle and going back to war. Arab Muslim warriors will only give way and acquiesce to superior force. But you will never change them, basically; they will always be ready to go back to war. What they must be denied is State sponsorship above all. I never would have gone to Vietnam without it and Vietnam was a complete waste because one State, the US, stopped supporting another, South Vietnam. Makes a soldier feel like a fool.

Barbara Branden couldn't change Linz one quarter of an inch. Good luck with your people/cultural molding. Even Ayn Rand wasn't so arrogant, and she was an advocate of the plasticity of human nature, something she shared with the totalitarian culture from which she came. She never understood, it would seem, why middle-aged businessmen wouldn't read "Atlas Shrugged" and champion her as she championed them. See, think, change. It ain't that simple.

--Brant

War

eg's picture

I don't know enough to change Arab/Persian Muslim culture, even with all the US resources the US can steal behind me.

--Brant

O'K

eg's picture

The US should've invaded Saudi Arabia.

--Brant

Brant

AdamReed's picture

When a culture gets so rotten that they would make war on a free country, then social engineering - just enough to make them a productive trading partner instead of a deadly threat - is exactly what they deserve. Those individuals in the defeated country who acccept the trader principle without force will benefit; the rest will receive justice until they change their minds or are no longer a threat to those who do.

No, Adam

eg's picture

You're really talking about envy manufacture.

Look, civilize them with a Craig. By that I mean, the Arabs and Persians will respect superior force, not superior economics.

Only weep for Iraq if you favor social engineering. I don't. That's New Deal/New Frontier crap, not authentic Objectivist crap. I hope.

--Brant

Brant

AdamReed's picture

All it should take is one free Arab country to set an example and attract productive people away from the rest. Without those people the nuts will not be able to manage much harm - and we'll have local allies in taking out the rest.

Which is why I'm angry at how the opportunity that existed in Iraq was wasted.

Conquer

eg's picture

For the sake of argument, if what you say is true it means conquering and occupying Syria and Iran, never mind any problems that Pakistan might present.

How is the United States going to pull that off? Much less Israel? How is that going to stop terrorists when they are home-grown in Britain?

--Brant

Brant

AdamReed's picture

The emperor's surrender was a part of the picture, but not all of it. Islam has a similar quasi-military structure, with the qalif being able to give binding orders, and if there is no qalif each emir among the Sunnis etc. But this was not the end of the story. The cultural transformation carried out over five years after the surrender of the emperor was essential to assure a mutually beneficial long term outcome.

Adam

eg's picture

When Hirohito told the Japanese to stop fighting, that was that.

Who is going to do that with the Muslims?

--Brant

Hi Brant

AdamReed's picture

OK, the picture is to small to read the label on the motor. But seriously, the traditional culture of the Japanese had far less in common with ours than the culture of the Islamic world. Look around you, take in everything that was made in Japan, and see if you can repeat "altruistic" and "futile" with a straight face.

Adam

eg's picture

The motor in the boat was made in the Congo in 1928. The 81mm mortar base plate was made in Chicago, IL in 1953. My M-16 was made in Maryland in 1965. My pants were made in South Carolina in 1964. I was made in Tucson, AZ in 1943. (This didn't make me a member of the Class of '43, but did magnify the value of that year for Objectivism re "The Fountainhead" and liberty re "The God of the Machine," "The Road to Serfdom." Smiling ). My underwear--oops. I didn't wear underwear one day after the first day in Vietnam. Smiling Everything except me was made by monkeys in underground factories.

--Brant

Brant

AdamReed's picture

Brant - you write that "we don't have is the power to foist off Western culture on them by force," that to attempt it would be "altruism" and "a futile effort."

I prefer to refer to use the term "enlightenment culture" rather than "Western Culture" (and "human civilization" rather than "Western civilization") because "Western" can be readily (mis?)interpreted to include Marx, postmodernism, Stalin, Hitler, and the Spanish Inquisition. That said:

Futile? Who made the motor on the boat in your picture?

Adam

eg's picture

I did not say let the Nazis and military totalitarian Japanese "have what they want." I said if the Muslims want what they had in Islamic Spain 1000 years ago, more power to them. What we don't have is the power to foist off Western culture on them by force. Altruism in foreign affairs leads to wasteful and prolonged expenditures of men and money in war and futile effort. And I didn't even say let the Muslims have whatever they want, only that there are limits and it is nuts not to be aware of those limits. They get to keep going to their mosques and praying five times a day. I don't give a damn if they do or don't. If they want to threaten the US with nukes they get to be slapped around. Hard. Furthermore you have absolutely no understanding of Japanese culture, why what the US did worked in Japan to the extent it did and didn't, to say nothing of Germany.

Sheesh.

--Brant

Brant

AdamReed's picture

Brant - you write, "If the Muslims want that then they can go get it."

Back in 1944, the Germans did not want it. The Japanese did not want it. Letting them have what they want is not victory but surrender. Oh - but Bush is all about letting them have whatever they vote for - whatever they want...

Japan and Germany

eg's picture

were not Muslim. Islamic Spain was, not is. If the Muslims want that then they can go get it. Then it would be in the interest of the US to encourage and support them.

--Brant

Brant

AdamReed's picture

Brant - you write, "You can lead a Muslim culture to the water of freedom and democracy and individual rights and Mario Lanza and the Enlightenment, but you can't make it drink, no matter how much you beat it with a stick or lace it with sugar."

You are wrong - and the same thing that you are saying here was being said, around 1942, about the totalitarian cultures of Germany and Japan. There is precedent: Islamic Spain was a culture of science, production and trade, back when the rest of Europe was a violent, deadly theocratic cesspool. Japan never had such a precedent in its history, and yet we won. Besides, there is no alternative to trying, is there?

Adam

eg's picture

You can lead a Muslim culture to the water of freedom and democracy and individual rights and Mario Lanza and the Enlightenment, but you can't make it drink, no matter how much you beat it with a stick or lace it with sugar.

--Brant

Brendan - on victory

AdamReed's picture

A military defeat of the enemy, and even his unconditional surrender, is not in itself victory. The opposite of war, and the substance of victory, is not mere tolerable peace, but a radical transformation of the culture of the enemy: from a criminal state, into a nation of productive partners in cooperation and trade. This is what the nations of human civilization achieved in and after the Second World War with Germany and Japan. America still knows what needs to be done, and how.

Our forces laid the proper military foundation for civil victory in Iraq. But what America did not have in our time is a president with the understanding, and the will, to build a real victory on that foundation. Bush imposed majority rule in Iraq without first forcing a radical transformation of its culture. Bush does not understand that a culture of theocracy is as evil, as the racist and militaristic cultures we defeated in World War II. (And at home, Bush has been pushing America in the direction of a more "God-fearing" culture, an America more like Iraq and Iran.) Majority rule in a theocratic culture is exactly what makes Iran today the enemy of human civilization - and what Bush has imposed on Iraq. Am I the only one here who sees this as the opposite of victory?

Total war not possible

Brendan Hutching's picture

Andre: “Fight a real war. Make the enemy surrender. Try to win.”

What is a ‘real’ war, and what does it mean to win one? The US military took Baghdad within a few weeks, so presumably the Iraq war was ‘won’ at that point, and the aftermath has been a prolonged mopping-up operation. But if the war has still to be won, in what way does it need to be fought in order to make the enemy surrender?

Some clear thinking on this matter would show that comparisons with Germany and Japan are fatuous. World War II was a total war, not just in the sense that overwhelming force was used, but also because it was waged between major powers who channeled their economic might into producing gigantic war machines. That’s why the conflict was so brutal and prolonged.

That type of war is not possible at present because there is only one major power that is economically and militarily strong enough to wage such a prolonged conflict. The Iraqi conflict is a guerilla war, which can’t be won the traditional way – by saturation bombing aimed at destroying the war machine, and by taking territory – because in a guerilla-type war there’s no war machine to destroy and the territory has already been taken.

Waging a total war would also conflict with one of the ostensible aims of the Iraqi war, which was to free the Iraqi people – remember ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’? Saturation bombing aims to destroy civilian morale, but that just undermines the ‘hearts and minds’ strategy, which is a vital prong in a guerilla-type war.

Brendan

War isn't a Game

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

The key point here is: Fight a real war. Make the enemy surrender. Try to win.

I don't advocate mindless cruelty -- just justice. The kids of Germany and Japan didn't grow up seeking revenge in the slightest. Nor would even the ultra-lowly Muslims. The key is to always be morally right.

Nowadays all wars are a joke. From Korea to Viet Nam to Gulf War I to Afghanistan to Iraq, the West is so morally confused and disarmed it never tries to win.

And guess what? It never does.

How to fight a war

eg's picture

Open fire. Kill everybody. I'm afraid JR knows how to handle this crap better than I do. I'm the one with the (metaphorical) headache. I do know about actually killing people in war, however, and Andre is an idiot.

--Brant

Andre: “Morally, these

Brendan Hutching's picture

Andre: “Morally, these folks -- including the "innocent civilians" -- should have been wiped out to a man (minus kids), in my judgment.”

But then the kids will just grow up to avenge their elders. In any case, an effective killing operation of the sort you suggest requires a lot of planning. You’d need processing centres to sort out the kids from the adults, institutions to house the orphans, transport and slaughter facilities for the adults, as well as trained personnel. I don’t think Israel has the manpower and resources to take on a task of that magnitude.

Brendan

Andre got me thinking....

Sandi's picture

"One thing is certain: the West will never defeat the enemy until it correctly names the enemy!"

We all know the enemy that's the cause this problem - political correctness.

Do you see Iran being PC, or Al Queda?

Its little wonder why the Muslims detest Western ideology.

We hold our freedom of speech as one of our most fundamental rights and then totally contradict this right by removing it.

We don't even stop to consider our own failings, because they don't count.....do they?

The irony of this is that it is summed up by a Muslim.

"What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist" - Salman Rushdie

Thank you for your inspiration Andre.

Olmert and recriminations

Craig Ceely's picture

"EHUD OLMERT’S greatest sin in the eyes of the Israeli public is not that the war in Lebanon was “disproportionate”, but that he did not win it.Now that hostilities seem to be winding down, the debate over the conduct of one of the most unsuccessful military campaigns in the history of the Jewish state has begun with a vengeance. And it could bring about the demise of the Prime Minister and the new, centrist, Kadima party that he led to victory in the election in March."

Good. A special spot in Hell should be reserved for politicians who are willing to start wars but not fight them.

"How can President Bush

Charles Henrikson's picture

"How can President Bush declare that 'Hezbollah suffered a defeat' in Lebanon...?"

When the only langauge that you know is half-truth and double talk... that and being a philisophically misintegrated individual who lives in an optimistic fantasy world where the glass is always half-full or is it really full? When you live in such a place and speak a certain language after a certain thought process it may come through like this:

While looking at a half-full glass of water, and becoming depressed by not having the words for "half-empty" or "half-full" in your vocabulary, and "living" in a optimistic fantasy land where the obvious choice between empty and full: is full; you might say "That glass of water is full." Now saying this you know that you are not telling the complete truth because you know that you cannot say the glass is what it is because you don't have the words for it, so you slip deeper into your fantasy (because it is nice, warm, and beautiful in optimismland and you don't have to face the cold ugly facts of reality) it's a little easier to put on a happy face and wave to a crowd of people that you have trouble communicating with, so you stutter and are embarrased--and you sink deeper into your fantasy where it is nice and warm and beautiful.

Now recriminations begin in Israel

Marcus's picture

Good article from the Times.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/a...

"EHUD OLMERT’S greatest sin in the eyes of the Israeli public is not that the war in Lebanon was “disproportionate”, but that he did not win it. Now that hostilities seem to be winding down, the debate over the conduct of one of the most unsuccessful military campaigns in the history of the Jewish state has begun with a vengeance. And it could bring about the demise of the Prime Minister and the new, centrist, Kadima party that he led to victory in the election in March."

Winning won't do any good

Greg Mullen's picture

I fail to see how the defeat of any evil regime can be truly effective without the recognition from the US that democracy means nothing without individual rights.

The Enemy is the Jihadis and their Active Supporters

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

It's a real shame if Bush is now retreating into the usual, bland, pro forma, "banality of evil" lies. This rubbish is based on his reversion to the deleterious worldwide default ideology of PC and multi-cultism. Such public pronouncements by President Bush constitute appeasement and a verbal surrender to evil. These official statements, in turn, are preconditions and precursors to physical and military surrender to our jihadi enemies.

Bush and Blair's previous repeated commentary about this malevolent ideology -- to wit, that "Islam is a great religion hijacked by a false minority" -- are also terrible, anti-Western, self-destructive lies. Ayn Rand called this acquiescence "the sanction of the victim." No-one inside Islam, from pure loyalists to utter dissidents, accepts Bush and Blair's absurd "diplomatic" and "sensitive" characterization of the ideology of Islam.

Craig: as for which Muslims on the planet rightfully should be "murdered," the answer seems to be all who are actively, militarily fighting the West and all who aid them -- such as the southern Lebanese in the most recent Western/Islamic conflict. Morally, these folks -- including the "innocent civilians" -- should have been wiped out to a man (minus kids), in my judgment.

As for the people and slaves of Syria and Iran, justice and wisdom seem to demand that maybe the top thousand or so leaders of their government, military, police, party, and religion should be ruthlessly targeted with a sudden sneak attack of smart bombs, followed up by a week or two of commando and special operations attacks. All these horrific leaders and slave-masters, as well as all of their active defenders, should be destroyed without mercy. But the mass of Muslims in Syria and Iran, who don't interfere in our military operations, and who maybe secrely hope we succeed in decimating their evil overlords, should not be attacked, if possible. 

Such is part of my oft-repeated foreign policy, at any rate. It's very different from that of ARI and TOC. But maybe also very superior.      

Delenda this

Boaz the Boor's picture

I would like to think that this is part of a bigger picture and the stage is being set for an international encounter with Iran...

Absolutely. The imminent encounter with Iran, for which Israel's "War On Missiles and Rockets" was a wee prelude, will consist of GWB clearing his throat and yelling "Boo!"

There has been some speculation that this war was mainly a pre-emptive 'softening' of the battlefield for Israel in anticipation of an iminent US strike on Iran.

There has been some speculation that this war was every bit as cowardly and wasteful of innocent Israeli life as any fucking bullshit slipshod fucking half-measure we end up inflicting on Iran.

But that's only half-true: at this stage, Israel is actually slightly more adept at sacrificing her (conscripted) eighteen year old boys than is America.

There has been some

Thomas Lee's picture

There has been some speculation that this war was mainly a pre-emptive 'softening' of the battlefield for Israel in anticipation of an iminent US strike on Iran.

Show me the money.

(But apart from that, as Diana pointed out, a war with Iran fought the way we've fought our so-called war in Iraq, or in Afghanistan, or the way Israel fought Hezbollah, is not necessarily a good thing.)

EDIT: To be clear, I don't mean to ascribe any view to Diana. My point was that the evil of a half war is such that the kind of war Bush would wage on Iran would not necessarily be a better course of action than doing absolutely nothing at all. (Which is an indictment of Bush...not attacking Iran.)

Okay...

Craig Ceely's picture

I'll go along with "Islam delenda est." Do you mean by that, though, the murder of all Muslims? I do not. The end of the Teheran and Damascus regimes -- and, if necessary, that in Riyadh -- is, however, concrete and definable and doable.

I do agree with your last sentence, Andre, but you must note that President Bush has already backed away from the "Islamic fascists" statement.

Quote Andre

Sandi's picture

"One thing is certain: the West will never defeat the enemy until it correctly names the enemy!"

I would like to post a smiley face and thumbs up to your comment.

Sandi may be right

Pete L's picture

There has been some speculation that this war was mainly a pre-emptive 'softening' of the battlefield for Israel in anticipation of an iminent US strike on Iran.

Naming the Enemy

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Actually, Craig: Islam delenda est.

The only good news of late in the war against jihad is George Bush recently designated the enemy as "Islamic fascists." This isn't perfect -- since the real name of the enemy is "the ideology of Islam" -- but it's certainly better than some vague, politically correct, self-hating locution like "war against terror" or "war against mass-murder" or some such.

Truth is a powerful weapon and I think Bush's new terminology -- if he sticks with it -- will definitely help. Altho' admittedly this advantage will be mainly in the long term and at a level of perception below just about everybody. 

One thing is certain: the West will never defeat the enemy until it correctly names the enemy!

The predictable result

Craig Ceely's picture

And now who is sending aid for rebuilding to the southern Lebanese?

Hezbollah. Iran. The United States.

You're known by the company you keep. This is disgusting.

A purely academic question, I know, but: who is sending aid for the rebuilding northern Israel?

Look to see more Hezbollah members of Parliament in the very near future, more Hezbollah ministers in the Lebanese "government," and more prestige accruing to Hezbollah membership.

The state within a state: Lebanon within Hezbollahstan.

Teheran delenda est.
Damascus delenda est.

I would like to think that

Sandi's picture

I would like to think that this is part of a bigger picture and the stage is being set for an international encounter with Iran.

You always have to cut a few awkward branches away so you can swing your axe at the trunk of the tree.

Israel Screwed Itself

jtgagnon's picture

You know where I stand on this issue. Israel seems to be suffering from the same thing the U.S. currently suffers from: wimpiness. If a country is going to justly defend itself, it had better do a complete job of it. Israel should have acted with overwhelming force - on the air and on the ground. Instead, it dorked around while the international community (including the U.Drunk drafted a resolution to stop the hostilities (language meaning: let's appease the terrorists). Every time I see something about it on the news, my blood boils.

Your analysis

eg's picture

is correct. As for Dr. Brook's prescription--it's a matter of debatable tactics. Israel has made things worse. The huge bombing, artillery campaign followed by the half-assed invasion then withdrawal has only increased the prestige of Hezbollah. Thus Israel contributes greatly to the manufacture, not the defeat, of its enemies.

--Brant

Yes

Boaz the Boor's picture

The Parliament can call for a vote of no confidence, which would force early elections (provided the measure passes by a simple majority) within 60 days.

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